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Fort McMurray evacuees welcomed home Saturday as crews make progress on wildfire

Residents of Fort of McMurray who were displaced over wildfire concerns were told to return home Saturday.

In a 10:30 a.m. update, officials said all evacuation orders and alerts had been lifted and the local state of emergency had been lifted in the Fort McMurray area.

That includes evacuation orders in Abasand, Beacon Hill, Prairie Creek, and Grayling Terrace. As well as alerts in Fort McMurray, Draper, Saprae Creek, Gregoire Lake Estates, Fort McMurray First Nation 468, Anzac and Rickards Landing Industrial Park.

On Friday, residents had been told it would take at least until Tuesday for a return.

According to officials, recent rain reduced the intensity of the wildfire and significant progress had been made.

Fire guards had been constructed between the fire and Fort McMurray, structure protection measures had been put in place and a fire-retardant had been applied in areas.

Highway 63 and Highway 881 were opened. Information for returning evacuees can be found here.

Emergency social services, including food and accommodation will remain in place until noon Sunday.

As of Saturday, the fire remained classified as out of control at 19,493 hectares.

“While it is safe for evacuees to return, residents will have to live with an active wildfire near their community for weeks if not months,” Alberta Wildfire said. “Bringing a wildfire of this size under control will take time and hard work.”

A fire ban and off-highway vehicle restriction remained in effect in the Fort McMurray area.

More to come … 

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